By BD Scott
Let go of me NOW!
Christina mentally screamed as loud as she could. She felt her lips, tongue and mouth articulate her insistent demand but no noise erupted from her efforts.
Why can’t anyone hear me?
Pausing her demands only for a split-second, a gentle memory eased its way into the depths of consciousness. Her days as a young girl bloomed into full color during a time when her mother would drive their green station wagon – the one with ugly yellow pinstripes and flopping wheels – toward their annual getaway. The drive was to the same small lake every summer. She was six years old when it all began, loving every bump along the way. Their bond deepened each time because this annual trip represented their playtime, their world, their own “up and down” irreverance against the seriousness of life.
The lake sat surrounded by beautiful trees rich in various shades of green and equally gorgeous bright red and yellow leaves. The smell of summer was distinct. She swore droplets of the water kissed the air and melted inside her senses despite the lake’s lightly humid scent, which held a tinge of fishiness about it.
Christin’a fondness extended to her time swimming in the lake, thus challenging herself to release her mother’s hand when the water rose to her waist, just to prove her bravery. She always waited until a certain hour of the day to do this. For some instinctive reason she felt bravest at exactly 4pm, without evidence of a clock anywhere.
This would be the exact moment she would let go and swim in the lake as her mother watched. She knew her mother was scared for her the instant she let go. Today, the memory took on another flavour, one she despised.
Why can no one hear me?
Her breathing shortened and wheezed with every protesting force she could muster. Yet, her body refused to move and she could make no sound.
“Christina! Christina! Grab my hand and be with me,” echoed in her head. Christina swore she could see her own eyes frantically roll left, right, up and down to find who was speaking.
“Let me go! Why won’t you let me go?”Christina continued to yell,”Why can’t I move around?”
Tears started to form in the corners of her eyes. The reality of being paralyzed like this was deepening her terror!
A warm wet sensation started to encircle her belly and lower body. She reached out with her hand toward the sound of her own name; even though she knew her hand wasn’t actually moving. Her eyes fluttered with the next sensation of water splashing her belly. Consciousness was returning.
Her world felt an acute pull, much like accelerating upwards from the depth of a deep roller coaster drop-off.
Christina’s voice erupted with quaking eyes and a huge gasp exclaiming “Help!”
“Christina? Oh my god, Christina!” exclaimed Barb, Christina’s best friend.
“Nurse! Nurse! She’s awake! Come quick!”
Barb remembered the nurse was on break. Christina’s eyes bounced in all directions.
“Who are you? Why can’t I move? Where am I?”
“Shh, Christina, it’s Barb, it’s me. Me. Honey, honey here, look here.”Barb gently instructed. “It’s Babs,”
The vision of Barb’s mouth moving guided her blurred vision. Focus started to come back. It took a long moment of patience for the both of them.
Babs became Christina’s term of endearment earned back in school.
“I’m here honey.”
“What’s happening?” Christina pleaded.
“Honey, please ease down. You’re safe. You’re in a bed. Shhh.”
Taking in a few some deep breaths at Bab’s request, Christina was sure she still couldn’t move her arms or legs. Her eyes pleaded with Babs.
“Babs, tell me please. What has happened to me?”
Many minutes passed and the silence grew into proportions too large for Babs to contain.
“Sweetheart, there was an accident. You and I, we were in it,” Babs choked out with a warbled voice.
Babs struggled whether to say anything more but Christina’s confusion only made her explain matters further.
“Honey, you may not remember.”
“You have been in a car accident. I was in the car with you. I only have bad bruises and bandages, see? But you. You have been in a…”
“A coma for three weeks,” Babs said softly while lowering her head.
“Your arms and legs are broken and in casts. Some of your ribs are broken. They say there’s internal bleeding and other things going on that I don’t understand. You have been on muscle relaxants and other medications to control pain and give you comfort while you, um, slept.”
Christina’s mind instantly filled with a flash memory of metal on metal smashing and making a horrible slamming sound. Her eyes widened and then settled.
“So all of that is why I can’t…”
“…move your arms and legs. Are you in pain, hun? Shall I get the nurse for more morphine? We have to let them know you are out of your coma,” Babs offered after clearing her throat and wiping her own tears with nearby tissue.
“Pain meds? I don’t feel any pain.” Christina slowly and carefully assessed of her own body.
“The morphine was pretty powerful. They warned me about you having nightmares or sleep paralysis or something during your coma. I am so sorry about your nightmare hun.”
“Nightmare? Yes, so horrible. But someone was calling for me. Who was calling out for me? “
“No one, hun.“
“But someone was calling out to me!”
“This side of the hospital is a quiet zone hun. No cell phones, radios, TV’s are allowed here on this ICU ward. And voice levels are whispers in here. Who did it sound like?”
“I don’t know. I swear to you a voice was calling me, calling me.”
“Um, Christina there’s, there’s something you,” Babs choked back, holding her own mouth closed.
Christina’s mind suddenly blanked. Her eyes focused on the calendar in front of her. The date read Sept 12. Her memory of the accident was returning a little bit more now after looking at the calendar.
“Babs, who or what hit us? Was it a truck or drunk driver?”
“Oh God,” Babs couldn’t help but whimper out.
“What?. I can’t move to see you. What is it?”
The next few minutes were strained silence. Babs then reached into her purse.
“I have to show you something. It’s important,” Babs said with careful reserve, wondering about her sense of timing and gave Christine a clear view of what she needed to see.
Before Christina could say anything, she choked hard.
The car crash involved a long vehicle. It t-boned into the car Babs and Christine were in. The worst damage was to the passenger side, where Christina had been sitting.
Babs choked up harder, looked down as she held up the next picture.
It was a photo of her mother’s gravestone dated two weeks ago, Aug 31.
Christina gasped. Almost immediately, tears drained from her eyes as she recognized the tombstone’s location. The gravestone was placed at their summer spot by the lake. The area had been converted into a cemetery some years back because of its beauty, remoteness and natural surroundings.
Babs leaned over to Christina and embraced her hard and managed to mumble, “It was purely an accident. The police report stated “unavoidable collision at an intersection. In the wreckage, your mother’s arms were outstretched.”
Christina said softly, “Babs…Babs?”
“Yes hun?” as tears continued to pour down Bab’s face.
“The pain is coming on. Help me. God, the pain.”
Before Babs could get the nurse, one arrived and joyfully assessed Christine’s return to consciousness. All vitals looked fairly stable after a medical team did their work, after which the nurse looked down subtly, with a bit of concern. She said nothing and finished writing on the chart.
After a few minutes, a fresh morphine drip was resumed. The nurse smiled and slipped out once the new monitors were engaged and set.
“You might sleep again you know, peacefully this time.”
‘I know Babs. I know. You know you are the best friend anyone could ever have.”
Babs carefully hugged Christine. She cleared her throat and asked if lunch was needed, offering to spooned her. Shaking her head slightly, Christina just said, “Maybe later, ok?”
Babs nodded and continued to clear her tears with tissue while she quietly sat next to her.
Within minutes, the morphine made Christina sleep off.
Babs gave into her emotional exhaustion and napped as well in the nearby comfort chair.
Hours passed by.
Then a subtle chime was heard from somewhere nearby, chiming four times, indicating 4pm.
Deep in Christina’s fading mind she yelled out, “I’m coming mother! I’m coming!”
~ endBD Scott, Author, Producer of Bestshorthorrorstories.com & Founder of Friedrich Imagines, Ltd. a media production company